Johnson: Stamps not buying speculation of Lions mutiny

 

 
 
 
 
B.C. Lions' head coach Jeff Tedford watches his team play the Montreal Alouettes during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 20, 2015.
 

B.C. Lions' head coach Jeff Tedford watches his team play the Montreal Alouettes during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 20, 2015.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, Calgary Herald

Those rumours of inner strife. The claims that first-year head coach Jeff Tedford has lost the troops. That offensive co-ordinator George Cortez has lost the plot.

That Andrew Harris is unhappy.

That Manny Arceneaux is unhappy.

That virtually everybody in orange and black this side of long-serving equipment guru Kato Kasuya has some kind of bone to pick, grievance to file, objection to raise.

Sorry, the Calgary Stampeders aren’t buying it.

They don’t subscribe to the picture being painted of the B.C. Lions as a ticking time bomb; a group of insurrectionists on the verge of a palace revolt.

“There might be a revolt,” mused ex-Lion Josh Bell, as the Stamps wound up practice Wednesday. “But if there’s a revolt, then nobody comes to work, right?

“They’re still coming to work, far as I can see.

“There’s some degree of truth to everything, I guess, but I also know the media has to keep things hopping. Some of those guys, my guys, are still there from my time. Cord Parks, my roomie. Manny. A few others.

“Of course they’re not happy. Why would they be happy? They’re winners. They’re warriors. You lose, there’s always a whole bunch of things people can blame. There’s always something to grumble about.

“So all the stuff that’s said or written or out there on Twitter …

“I just raise an eyebrow to it and keep going.”

The Lions certainly did soil the sheets in spectacular fashion on Sunday, summarily dismissed 31-18 at home by the Ottawa Redblacks. From an offensive perspective, primarily, it truly represented a special degree of bad.

The John Beck-directed attack mustered only 11 first downs and kept its mitts on the ball for just 18 minutes and 15 seconds, compared to a scandalous 45:45 for Smilin’ Henry Burris and the Redblacks. Star tailback Harris toted the rock only four times for a 0.8-yard average and serpentined his way out of the dressing room without talking to media afterwards.

So what the Stampeders are bracing for here on Friday night at McMahon Stadium is not a team in the throes of disarray, unravelling like a ball of twine around a playful cat, but a team in a particularly cantankerous mood.

“The stuff you hear, you read, the gossip, you take it for what it’s worth,” said D-line coach DeVone Claybrooks. “We had speculation here (with coach/GM John Hufnagel apparently preparing a defection to Regina) a week ago that had to be dealt with.

“Everybody wants to think they know something everyone else doesn’t. You take it all with a grain of salt. If anything, that kind of stuff tends to pull the troops closer together, gets that rallying cry ‘It’s Us against The World’ going.

“I don’t read too much into any of the gossip that goes around the league. A nine-team league, you tend to get a lot more gossip than normal because everybody knows everybody else’s business.

“Or thinks they do.”

Returning Calgary tailback Jon Cornish, too, shrugged off the swirling speculation.

“I think the ‘OK. Whatever’ approach is best to this sort of thing. In this day and age, you have to get out in front of things. Speculation builds if you allow the rumours to persist.”

To that end, out west-coast way Wednesday, Tedford wearily addressed the conjecture of widespread unrest. One final time.

“I’ve talked to people on this team,” he reiterated to the assembled scribblers. “We can’t put credence in opinions that are misinformed. Is the locker-room a little edgy? Of course. And you want it to be. But dissension’s a whole different thing. And that’s not what it is.

“Players are edgy. Coaches are edgy. People are edgy. People are edgy. You put in a lot of work, you want to win. But somebody — and this is the last time I’m talking on this because it’s not even worth talking about — who doesn’t know the situation, who has no responsibility in what they put out there — is just the nonsense you have to deal with.

“And it’s very unfortunate.

“I can tell you, in this locker-room, the guys are driven. They’re edgy because they want to win.”

So the Stampeders, to a man, anticipate lining up against a tight, united group, eager to make amends for Sunday’s shambolic offensive performance, improve their lot in the West Division and put the rumours to bed.

Knowing another effort like the last one would only serve to fan the flames.

“I can understand their frustration,” said DB Brandon Smith. “We can all understand it. We’re athletes. We’re paid to win. They want to win as bad as anyone.

“So you know they’re going to come in here with some passion, some fire in their bellies. I know how I’d be in their situation.

“I’d want to show everybody.

“I’d want to come in and knock off the defending Grey Cup champions.

“And that’s what we have to be ready for.”

gjohnson@calgaryherald.com

Twitter.com/GeorgejohnsonCH

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
B.C. Lions' head coach Jeff Tedford watches his team play the Montreal Alouettes during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 20, 2015.
 

B.C. Lions' head coach Jeff Tedford watches his team play the Montreal Alouettes during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 20, 2015.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice